Probably the only way to describe this awkward fixture is that it was like going on an ice-skating date with your sister ….. Very much a formality, with nothing untoward likely to happen except, of course, a serious injury.
So with all that in mind and the real fixture coming up next Saturday, both sides still managed to serve up an entertaining encounter which meant nothing for league places and semi-final berths. UCD will be disappointed that they failed to end their recent losing streak which will do nothing for their confidence but, counterintuitively, will probably make them a focussed, trickier opponent in the semi. Clontarf have now gone seven games without a loss and will be hoping to stretch that to nine before the season ends.
UCD started brightly but were undone by a slashing break out of defence by Conor O’Brien who given the choice of inside and outside support went inside to Evan Ryan who defied his mature years and burned to the UCD line blasting diesel fumes in his wake. That was the only score of the first half which was dominated by UCD possession testing the Clontarf defence.
The second half saw UCD get on the scoreboard after Clontarf ceded field position and then a kick to the corner with some repeated indiscipline. UCD accepted the gift and mauled for a score which raised their spirits. Unfortunately for the visitors they failed to make touch following the ensuing kick-off and the ball was transferred quickly to Mick McGrath who given 20 yards to pick up steam did a passing imitation of an angry rhinoceros as he mowed his way to the line.
To their credit UCD came again and no 8 Peadar Timmins tied the score at 12 – 12 as the game moved into the fourth quarter. As in the past Clontarf found another gear and a Rob Keogh penalty nudged them ahead. Then, after patient work in the UCD 22 Neil Reilly got in by the posts to add the crucial try converted by Keogh who added the coup de gras with a final penalty as time wound down.